Skip Navigation

Bird Stone

Arts of the Americas

On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
Bird Stones: A Mystery

Bird stones have been found from Nova Scotia down along the Eastern Seaboard and as far west as the Mississippi River. There are many theories about their function. Were they charms associated with religion? Were they fastened to clothing to indicate status or stage of life? Were they ancient game pieces or handles for a spear thrower (atlatl)? All bird stones are carved from exceptional types of hard stone, and the quantity of surviving examples indicates that they were quite popular.
MEDIUM Stone (red 'sugar' quartz )
DATES 1500-500 B.C.E.
DIMENSIONS 1 5/16 x 2 7/16 x 5 1/8 in. (3.3 x 6.2 x 13.0 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
EXHIBITIONS
ACCESSION NUMBER L49.3.4
CREDIT LINE Private Collection
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact reproductions@brooklynmuseum.org (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
CAPTION Hopewell (Native American). Bird Stone, 1500-500 B.C.E. Stone (red 'sugar' quartz ), 1 5/16 x 2 7/16 x 5 1/8 in. (3.3 x 6.2 x 13.0 cm). Private Collection, L49.3.4. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 46.100.9_L49.3.3_L49.3.4_acetate_bw.jpg)
IMAGE group, 46.100.9_L49.3.3_L49.3.4_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RECORD COMPLETENESS
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.
Hopewell (Native American). <em>Bird Stone</em>, 1500-500 B.C.E. Stone (red 'sugar' quartz ), 1 5/16 x 2 7/16 x 5 1/8 in. (3.3 x 6.2 x 13.0 cm). Private Collection, L49.3.4. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 46.100.9_L49.3.3_L49.3.4_acetate_bw.jpg)